PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — President Obama, Vice President Biden, and Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell made one last stab to avoid higher taxes on everyone, scheduled to take effect at midnight tonight.
“Now today it appears that an agreement to prevent this New Year’s tax hike is within sight, but it’s not done,” President Obama said Monday afternoon.
“We are very, very close to an agreement,” McConnell said on the Senate floor.
But late Monday afternoon, House Republican leaders, led by Speaker John Boehner, said the House would not vote Monday night on any fiscal cliff rescue legislation.
That means income tax rates will go up for everyone at midnight — although Congress can roll back rates in early January.
Still, Senate Republicans have not given up.
“This has been clearly a good faith negotiation,” McConnell said. “We all want to protect taxpayers and we can get it done now.”
Sources say the agreement would maintain current tax rates for all those who earn less than $400,000.
But differences remain on how to avoid the across-the-board spending cuts which also hit at midnight.
“We’ll continue to work on finding smarter ways to cut spending, but let’s not let that hold up protecting Americans from the tax hike,” McConnell said.
The bottom line is even if the Senate reaches a compromise Monday night — and votes on it — the House of Representatives won’t act until Tuesday at the earliest.
Ironically, after midnight, members of Congress will be voting to cut tax rates — a political position many, especially House Republicans, would prefer to be in.
But, at this point, there is no deal for anyone to vote on.